14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Having booked with the same travel agent for several years she knows my wife's and I's preferences for luxurious holidays, listening to peoples past experiences and looking for a new type of luxurious holiday we decided to try a ... Read More
Having booked with the same travel agent for several years she knows my wife's and I's preferences for luxurious holidays, listening to peoples past experiences and looking for a new type of luxurious holiday we decided to try a cruise for the first time. We are youngish couple (early 30s) and like a good time but also enjoy relaxing things that were promised to us before we booked and comments made included: "being treated like royalty" "outstanding services" "would never know you were on a boat" "amazing experience". We were obviously very excited about trying a new holiday and we were sailing from Southampton around the Med the cruise was for 14 nights. The first day was docked at Southampton was excellent we had been on the ship in good time and the whole security etc and getting on board was a pleasant enough experience no better or worse than a good airport. The sun had come out so it was time to get the shorts on that we had luckily packed in our hand luggage first time cruisers your big case gets taken away and you may not se it for several hours later so pack some essentials into hand luggage. Drinks in hand we were happy to set sail. We explored the ship which is as grand and luxurious looking as the photos allude to and really quite impressive we had been told the cruise ship is like a floating city... whilst I wouldn't say city a really really big outlet or mall might be a more appropriate description we were certainly impressed. We eventually made our way to our cabin which was on Deck 8 at the rear side of the boat. The room was sufficient not massive by any stretch of the imagination but similar to a small hotel room and definitely not the smallest room I've ever stayed in, it had all the essentials a double bed, bathroom with shower, wardrobe space, air con, beside tables, TV, vanity area and a sofa. As ours was in inside room we had no window or natural light at all which was good in one way as it meant when the lights are out you are in total darkness which was great for daytime napping. The cabin itself was very clean and sheets and towels were all changed daily. Another tip for first time cruisers who are UK based the plug sockets are both European 2 pin and 2 pin American style plugs. At first we were quite impressed with the amount of things to see and do on the ship there is Flo Rida surf and boogie board, an ice rink, swimming pools, activities such as rock climbing, mini golf, and arcade (you have to pay for) there's several bars, a casino, there are activities such as quizzes, dance fit classes a gym, library etc. however most of the things we wanted to try became very busy and the queues in the sun were just too much. That said if you are willing to wait the experiences would be worthwhile. Sticking with entertainment - there were several shows in the evening and at night time these ranged from artistic expression, music and singing, hypnotist, magic, dance and comedians, some were very good such as the hypnotist and some were very amateur, but it was great to have something to see every night and the variety was outstanding. All of the ports and excursions were top class the sights we saw and places we visited were all amazing transport from the boat to land was all pre arranged and sometimes there was free transport whilst other days you will have to spend up to 15Euro to avail of the ships shuttle services but most were free or in and around the 5E mark. We didn't book any excursions through the ship itself as these were all quite expensive and you could get similar tours of people at the ports for a fraction of the price whilst another couple we had met were paying $80-$90 we were paying 10E to see the same places. As our holiday was all pre paid we had included the premium/deluxe drinks package and I do feel that having a drinks package is beneficial, whilst we didn't use ours anywhere near to the advantage we should have it was our choice to do this, that said a beer and wine drinks package would have been sufficient. One of the main bad points about this ship which has really put me off another cruise in the distant future is the bar service - it was appalling to say the least. First of all you use your seapass card to get a drink and it has what package you are entitled to on it, so even though we had pre paid our drinks package and got the top one available I still couldn't order 2 beers on the one card I had to have a card per beer this meant if I wanted 2 Corona and my wife wanted a wine I'd have to queue, get her and I a drink, then queue again to get my second beer, this system was awful!! and the bar staff seemed to have no concept of turn taking, who was waiting the longest on drinks and 99% of the time you were relying on other guests to let you get served before them if they were asked before you, even though you had been waiting longer. Many a time I would have arrived at the bar and the person beside got served then the person that took their place got served, then when they left the person that replaced them got served before you too. A lot of time they shouted out - whose next? and it was a case of whoever shouted the loudest and flashed their card got served first - considering we had prepaid our drinks package and it was in the region of $1800+ it was not the levels of service you expect - the bars were severely understaffed especially on sailing days and the service was just appalling at them in general. Another thing to note especially for first time cruisers was that even if your drinks are pre-paid its only one drink per card, so I couldn't order two beers for me on my card and a wine for my wife on hers - it was either one wine and beer and queue again for the second beer or take the wine and beer and try to get table or waiter service which there was few of considering the size of the ship. A few nights we went to the night club and there was approx. 300 people there and maybe something like 2 bar staff on and one waiter service. And as they have no concept of who was next you can imagine the chaos that was happening up there. Some of the bar staff and waiters (I assume because they were so busy) were actually quite rude in terms of they took your drinks card - you had your hand out to receive it back into your hand and they slammed it down in the bar in front of you instead of you without a thank you. The service was so bad I have since asked for half of my gratuity to be refunded. Dining was excellent - a great selection of foods and the quality was good, the My Time dinner service in the evening was exceptional and the waitress Virginia on Deck 4 was outstanding at her job. She was the one person on the ship that made it feel like the luxury cruise it was supposed to be. There was a 24 hour snack bar which again did exceptional food but at times when the main diners were closed the queues to get something were outrageous and you often found that had run out or your favourite thing was not ready but the time you got there. The cleanliness of the ship was also outstanding and the staff made sure that as many people as possible were sanitizing there hands especially at meal times which was excellent on our floor I saw staff cleaning the hand rails etc. which was all really good. however there was an outbreak of Norovirus on our deck floor and unfortunately I contracted it on the last day so my journey home to say the least was not great. for those people who tell you, you do not feel you are on a boat, you do, it was rocky and choppy at times and you can definitely feel movement. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2017
we chose this cruise for the itinerary and our level of loyalty. after having an okay experience on the liberty in october, we were not expecting this level of service. we chose the grand suite for the 14 days and will not go any other ... Read More
we chose this cruise for the itinerary and our level of loyalty. after having an okay experience on the liberty in october, we were not expecting this level of service. we chose the grand suite for the 14 days and will not go any other way. it was special from the time we arrived at the pier to the last day. we don't feel it necessary to chose a higher grade suite, since there was plenty of room and storage space for two people. the bathroom was larger than the bathroom we had in the princess suite we had on the queen mary 2. the food in the mdr was much better than expected and breakfast and lunch in chops was over the top. we loved the ports and wouldn't want to change anything. royal has won us over again and plan to take the grandeur in january. this was my 138th cruise and the first time i have written a review for cruise critic. i have sailed a large variety of cruise lines and will consider to do so depending what satisfies our needs. i have my favorites, and will hopefully continue to use them. the reason for my first revue, was the awesome experience we had for a moderately priced cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2017
All ports that we wanted to re-visit were included. The ship was lovely. We had a stateroom on deck 12, which was reasonably new and very spacious. My parents and brother and his partner had balcony rooms on deck 8 and their rooms were ... Read More
All ports that we wanted to re-visit were included. The ship was lovely. We had a stateroom on deck 12, which was reasonably new and very spacious. My parents and brother and his partner had balcony rooms on deck 8 and their rooms were quite dated and small in comparison to ours. We ate in the Sapphire dining room on most nights; he food was was wonderful. Our waiter and assistant waiter were attentive and friendly. The entertainment and activities were top class and plentiful. Service throughout the cruise was excellent and unfaltering. The RC excursions were good and they were so helpful to my mum who had to use a wheelchair for the excursions. My only criticism would be that the website doesn't provide as much detail as you need, especially when you have questions over suitability for wheelchair users. The Barcelona excursion with Jamon tasting was good apart from the the lack of seeing Gaudi's Sagarda Famila unfinished church?? A vital missing visit. Instead we had a tour of the 1992 Olympic sites??? Not really what we expected from a tour of Barcelona... Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We selected this cruise for the ports and had selected My Time Dining. We were booked in the Grand Suite which was a fabulous space with tons of closet space and an amazingly large bathroom. We had so many empty drawers when we finished ... Read More
We selected this cruise for the ports and had selected My Time Dining. We were booked in the Grand Suite which was a fabulous space with tons of closet space and an amazingly large bathroom. We had so many empty drawers when we finished unpacking that I could have brought another full suitcase. The My Time Dining worked really well and we always got the exact same table and the same waiter and assistant waiter. A big shout out to our assistant waiter Sanjeet, who made every dinner very enjoyable and entertaining. We did try Chops twice and Izumi once and both were very good, although Izumi had the final bill all mixed up with the other couple we were dining with. Being in the Grand Suite provided us access to Chops for breakfast daily and lunch on sea days. Although the breakfasts were very good, the menu was small and didn't change over the 13 days so was a bit boring towards the end of the cruise. The suite also gave us access to the Concierge Lounge which was nice, great service from the staff, although it is quite small and often we couldn't find a seat. As the cruise was out of Southampton the menus in the main dining room had been altered for the large component of brits on board, removing the staples like roasted chicken breast and adding in a daily pot pie and curry dish. We did find the selection of salads wasn't very good, and a lack of fresh vegetables with the meals, but other than that the food was much better than I expected it to be given some of the reviews I had read. The Entertainment was also geared to the Brits, so we couldn't participate in any of the quizzes and didn't get many of the jokes in the entertainment, but the Brits were rolling with laughter. Service was hit and miss. Our stateroom attendant wasn't very good at all, which was surprising, but the service in the main dining room and in Chops was very good. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
This was our first cruise. Embarkation was very good, everything was explained, I was very nervous, but was made to feel at ease. Our dinner table was with others, asked to have table for two, which was easy to change. Cabin was ... Read More
This was our first cruise. Embarkation was very good, everything was explained, I was very nervous, but was made to feel at ease. Our dinner table was with others, asked to have table for two, which was easy to change. Cabin was ready at 1pm, our cases were outside our cabin on arrival. The cabins are compact, we had a balcony, which was lovely. The main dining room was very good, excellent food, and service. We did find that the shore excursions were not very good, over priced, and our guides was not informative. There are shuttle buses to locations, at a small fee , this is the best way to see sights at your leisure. There were ice shows, and musicals in the evening, we did also watch some films, which could be seen inside, and out. We played mini golf, bingo, and joined in the quiz, you can do as little or as much as you want. I had top to toe massage, which was amazing. The overall service on the ship was excellent, the staff were always happy to help. Our only complaint, was disembarkation, we had to find our own cases, at the number we had been given (7). We searched for about 15 minutes, only to find them in number (12). We enjoyed this cruise, and have booked again for next year, and will be taking the whole family. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
This was our first cruise and our honeymoon. Having read previous reviews about this ship I was slightly worried but I really do not know where the negative views come from. The ship was absolutely beautiful and from the ease of boarding ... Read More
This was our first cruise and our honeymoon. Having read previous reviews about this ship I was slightly worried but I really do not know where the negative views come from. The ship was absolutely beautiful and from the ease of boarding the ship, to the choice in dining and the entertainment, there is not one thing I could complain about. Our cabin was a stateroom (8264) with a balcony which we made good use of. Everything was clean and the room attendant came at least twice a day to remake the beds and change the towels. We chose anytime dining and it was the best thing we did. The Main Dining Room was beautiful and we used it a couple of times for dinner but without a doubt the star of the ship is the Windjammer Café with hundreds of choices of meals and beautiful views out the floor to ceiling windows. We went to a couple of shows and all were first class. Every member of staff we dealt with were helpful, knowledgeable and completely professional. We only got off the ship a couple of times but when we did everything was explained and well managed. Please do not listen to the negative reviews of this ship or cruise line.! If you want to relax, meet new people and have lots of fun this is perfect. My only note would be we did go outside school holidays so the usual sunbed issues described didn't really exist and there were very few children aboard. If I had one negative comment it would be there are only really two English TV channels in the rooms which meant the choices when getting ready to go out were "Come Dine with Me" or "Top Gear" which got a bit dull. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
Getting on the ship was fantastic - so organised at Southampton. Drop cases off, drop car off, get in a small queue to get Sea pass, passport control, security and onto the ship. We were on ship just after 11am, but cabins opened at ... Read More
Getting on the ship was fantastic - so organised at Southampton. Drop cases off, drop car off, get in a small queue to get Sea pass, passport control, security and onto the ship. We were on ship just after 11am, but cabins opened at 1.30pm, so time to explore ship and get something to eat and drink. We had already purchased a non alcoholic drinks package with coffee, water, soda and non alcoholic drinks prior to the cruise, but I wished I'd purchased the one with wine or beer, as each glass of wine ranged from $9 to nearly $15 including the rip off 18% charges. We asked for the charges to be removed but they were compulsory. One bottle of wine ended up being $63 with the 18%charge and it cannot be removed.Some bottles were cheaper. Speciality coffee from $2.95 from Starbuck and windjammer. Coffee with milk is free in windjammer and royal promenade.Water is also free but not bottled water - that is $2.50. Tea is free also in rooms, windjammer and royal promenade but we drink coffee. Wi fi - buy before you go - rip off charges onboard $12.99-$17.99 per day onboard. We paid over $100 for wi fi onboard - we couldn't always get service with our provider. Rooms basic - plenty of room for storage - we left a full case of shoes in the bottom of the wardrobe - I took 10 pairs.Tea and milk provided (no coffee). Basic small bar soap. Soap dispenser in shower. Hairdryer. 2 Hand towels, 2 bath towel and 2 face clothes. Extra toilet roll.Rooms tidied and towels changed morning and night by friendly attendant. Our disappointment that our room was noisy - they came to look at it 3 times but said it was the air conditioning system that was new. You obtain your beach towels on deck 11 by the pool. Can be changed as frequently as you like. People complained there weren't enough sun-beds but we never had a problem. Large screen by pool to watch football and olympics during day. 3 bars near pool generally packed - queued for drinks regularly. Free ice-cream near pool and in windjammer - many children just wasted the ice cream. There were many unsupervised children running around the ship everywhere. Playing with lifts so you stopped at every floor. I have children but they were never unruly and rude like some of the children this time. Many disabled people this time too - it would be nice to have a separate pool for them. Some poor children in wheelchairs appeared to be in them for the entire holiday. It would have been nice for somewhere for them, as the normal pools were packed and not suitable. The adult pool was ice cold. Boiling hot jaccuzzi - inside and out. Many kids clubs - but as said before - many kids were just unsupervised and running everywhere. Mini golf was great - didn't use flowrider or rockwall. Food Poor - quality and choice not as good as last time. Delton and Sravan lovely, but other staff in restaurants were like robots. They might as well have had a tape recorder. My husband only had 3 starters in the entire cruise over 2 weeks and I missed the starter a few times. They push the specialty restaurants. All food was repetitive and deserts were not the best. The Jonny rockets that we paid for was the worst meal ever at lunch time. Eat as much as you like for $6.95 cover charge but it was rubbish. Cold inedible food. We sent our food back 3 times. milk shake $4.95. Entertainment - poor. The orchestra were fantastic and the compare was nice. However, the navigator of the seas singers could have been better. It was like watching a school production. We enjoyed the visiting acts. The ice skating shows were on during the day - who wants to go during the day they should be at night and you can only go at certain times according to your cabin number. Obviously we didn't get to see it. Stupid system. Bar singers - repetitive every night. Spa - I had my nails done - she was tired - she worked from 7.30am-9.30pm- not much conversation. It was like she just wanted to get it over with. Spa continuously pushing products and services. Gym and classes good. Art auctions - continually pushed - ranging from $495.00 to $19,500.00. Not the best of collections and not sure if all bids were genuine. Expensive. Shops - not much for children. We didn't take children, but my husband purchased some cadburys chocolates that cost less than £2 here for $10 onboard. Casino - good fun - onboard lottery $2 per day. Didn't win. Disappointment - only 3 formal night out of 14 days. I like dressing up in an evening but lets just say many people didn't. Excursions - Malaga - Marbella and Puerto Banus. Not enough time - rushed and difficult to understand Tour Guide. Lisbon - supposed to be wine tasting - not shown how wine is made and given 2 small samples in tiny glass. Wouldn't recommend. Another rushed trip. Late back to ship. On our own Gibraltar - big queue for lift - didn't go to top but excellent duty free shops. Bus or many taxi trips available. Cigarettes £20 at port. We dont smoke. Liverno/ Florence - do it yourself by train is cheaper but check train times, before you go and make sure you get the last train by about 3pm, as they are not always guaranteed on a Sunday. Genoa - bus tour outside - 12 euros each. Unfortunately shops closed for bank holiday. We had been to Rome before so didn't get off ship. Nice or monte carlo - tender - can be done yourself on train next to port - or stay near port lovely restaurants and beach. We had been before so stayed near the port for a nice lunch. Back at Southampton - they can take your bags off if they are ready the night before or we chose to take our own off. No problems - great disembarking. Give them a time on your sheet of paper - night before they give you an area to go to - then straight off the ship. Bags waiting in Southampton or we took our own off. Overall - I wouldn't recommend cruise. It was a bit creeky on the way back in bad weather - it is an older ship and you can tell by the interiors. The food wasn't the best and the entertainment was average. Onboard and excursions were expensive too. Didn't like 18% compulsory charges either. You think you are getting a good deal until it starts adding up. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We had a fantastic time, entertainment was great, service was great, food was good just too much of it hehehe. Sapphire restaurant was lovely food. And great service from the staff. We could not find anything to complain about. We had ... Read More
We had a fantastic time, entertainment was great, service was great, food was good just too much of it hehehe. Sapphire restaurant was lovely food. And great service from the staff. We could not find anything to complain about. We had Renaldo and Ashleigh on our table, very entertaining the both of them. We had a bit of a todo with a Spanish lady and her husband, they left their sun beds for more than an hour and a half, so I took over one of them to sit with my family, when she came back she wanted it back, she did not speak English so her husband came over and said they only went for something to eat and a shower!, I explained Why I took it, they were not happy, apparently if you leave your sun bed for more than half an hour you will lose it, the attendants remove the towels so someone else can use the sun bed. So if you want a sun bed get there early. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
We have boarded the Navigator in port of Civitavecchia -- all went smooth, fast and with a smile. Entering that amazing ship for the first time was an experience itself! As we arrived early, I had plenty of time to explore the boat ... Read More
We have boarded the Navigator in port of Civitavecchia -- all went smooth, fast and with a smile. Entering that amazing ship for the first time was an experience itself! As we arrived early, I had plenty of time to explore the boat before it got crowded. I did notice a slight drop in quality of the design and the materials used then in the Radiance class ships of RCCL, but this is a bigger ship so it did not hit me as a negative towards the Navigator. The dislike of the main public areas is to few pools for such as huge ship and especially lack of the Solarium -- an indoor pool area where people can swim even in the cold weather or during the winter time cruises. The main pool is large and cold, and there is one pool on the front that is adults only. There is also one huge hot tub in the closed SPA area, but if I have been on a winter cruise would actually have no options for swimming. The staff was amazing -- helpful, smiley, always ready to help and chat. We loved them all and they solved our every issue in a moment. The front office staff was really organized, there were never lines, if by any chance a line created (on the payment day for example), they brought extra staff and a lady who went from person to person in a row to see if she can be of any help so they would not need to wait in line or to give quick answers. I found this really good because my boyfriend, who usually loses nerves waiting in lines, has not even said a word even we stood there longer than 20 minutes. The lady that was cleaning our rooms was great -- we liked to sleep longer so she switched her room schedule for the cleaning and for the turndown service. The bar staff was also good that we (my boyfriend and me) did not even need to meet other cruisers -- just hanging at the bar with them and listening to their great and funny stories was enough. And last to mention, the Portofino and Chops service as top of the cake -- so good that we actually ate there 5 out of 7 nights on our cruise and did not even get a chance to try the dining room! After the first dinner at the Chops, we knew we will pretty much not move from there. The ambiance is great, the staff amazing and the food is incredible. A must to try is the melting T bone steak, but we loved everything else as after 5 nights we pretty much went through the whole menu. Other two nights of the cruise we used the Windjammer caffe for a quick snack, and my opinions on the food on board star rocketed when I saw a great choice of sushi served at the Windjammer - after a cruise on Costa (Serena) and their food choice, this was a dream come true. Lunch in the Windjammer was also a surprise as we had Indian, Japaneese, Mexican and other cuisines plus the regular meals. The variety was great as well as the taste. I was pleasantly surprised to see the choice of free soft drinks, coffe and ice-cream (this aslo after Costa cruise where you can be happy if you find free water, not to mention other soft drinks or ice-cream). Besides this, numerous buffets around the ship, all nicely presented and yummy resulted in a couple of kilos extra. Other services we used was shore excursions -- well organized, no complaints about that except the prices are really a bit high for simple excursions -- would probably go on more if prices were at least 10 -- 20 % down which they could comparing to what we are actually paying for (the bus, the guide and maybe and entrance to some local attraction). All in all, a great experience and a great ship and staff who made my boyfriend change his mind about cruising -- after our (and his first) cruise on a different company he was not so excited about cruising, but now he cannot wait to do it again! Ports of call: Civitavechia Bari Athens Ephesus (Turkey) Chania (Krete) Civitavecchai (Rome) Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2010
My wife (Sarah) and I just returned from a Western Mediterranean Cruise on Royal Caribbean Cruise Line's Navigator of the Seas. Just a little about us, I'm 36 and Sarah is 29 (as of September 2010) and we live in Orlando, ... Read More
My wife (Sarah) and I just returned from a Western Mediterranean Cruise on Royal Caribbean Cruise Line's Navigator of the Seas. Just a little about us, I'm 36 and Sarah is 29 (as of September 2010) and we live in Orlando, Florida, USA. I'm a Vice President in the field of healthcare and Sarah is an Audiologist. I include that information so you know what perspective we have. If you're reading this and you're 80 years old and have lots of money to burn then you may not share my viewpoints and that's okay. Hopefully you will still find some of my thoughts helpful to you. We found the cruise tickets by subscribing to weekly e-mail alerts. This was my 9th cruise and Sarah's 6th cruise. We booked this cruise for $1,299 per person in an inside cabin with $250 onboard credit. They had a few weeks for $1,199 per person, but the week we chose caused us to burn less vacation time because Labor Day is already a holiday in the US. I normally don't like to book through a travel agency because you lose flexibility and their hours of operation are not as good as going directly through the cruise line. For example, one weekend we wanted to see how much it would be to upgrade to a balcony and the agency either wasn't open or had very limited hours; I can't remember which. But in this day of instant information and a heightened demand for customer service, consumers want what they want and when they want it. Travel agents are perfectly fine for most people but I like to book directly through the cruise line. But in this case even the last minute prices through RCCL were something like $400 more expensive so, for us, price almost always wins! And to finish my earlier thought, the TA wanted an extra $800 per person for a balcony stateroom, so we decided to stay with our inside cabin. I can think of better things to do with $1,600. We booked our airline tickets through RCCL's ChoiceAir. I wasn't going to use ChoiceAir at first because it was a couple hundred dollars more expensive per ticket but I liked the idea that we were guaranteed to make the cruise if we booked through them even if the plane was delayed, which is something that can easily happen on international flights. In spite of that guarantee, that wasn't enough for me to book through them because my wife and I are frugal and savvy travelers! So I checked ChoiceAir's prices once per week and set up daily price alerts through Kayak.com. After a month or so the ChoiceAir was even a little bit cheaper than booking on my own so it was a no-brainer to book through them. The cruise departed from Rome and RCCL wanted $91 per person to transfer from FCO (Leonardo DaVinci Airport) to the port in Civitaveccia. Heck no, I wasn't paying $182 for a 1-hour bus ride. That price was EACH WAY. So Sarah (my better half) searched the Internet and this website and found a company who would have a private driver waiting for us at the airport with a Mercedes E-Class to drive just the two of us to the port. The cost of this was 120 Euros. Even if you factor in an exchange rate of 1.33 or so, our private driver, in a very nice and new Mercedes, was still less expensive than the bus ride through RCCL! But it gets better. We have plans to do a land tour of Italy sometime in the next few years because there is just so much to see. But I just couldn't wait to see the big sites of Rome. Our plane landed at 9:20 AM and we had to be on the ship by 4:30 PM or so and I figured I would ask the company who provided the driver if he could do a quick tour of the highlights of Rome and of course they were more than happy to help! The driver, Daniele Romagnoli, was right outside the airport waiting for us once we got our luggage and he was holding a sign with our names on it. He was dressed professionally in a black suit and we felt like big wigs! He was very friendly and the Mercedes was super clean and very new looking. We went to Circus Maximus, Trevi Fountain, the Vatican/St. Peter's Basilica, the Coliseum, the Pantheon, we watched the daily noon canon shoot (we were standing 20 feet away!) and we stopped at a cafe and had Roman pizza and Nutella covered pizza for dessert. It was excellent and I'm still trying to figure out why we didn't pay a thing for the food. When I pulled out my wallet to pay at the end of lunch Daniele told me to put it away. We then drove to the port and boarded the ship. The whole day was 230 Euros and that included driving us to the port. Let me just say that we didn't go into the Vatican as the lines were very long and we didn't go into the Coliseum. We walked into the square in front of St. Peter's Basilica and we walked around the Colisuem. It was just a quick sample of Rome, but it was just enough to ensure that we will be back someday! But with that being said, Daniele brought us to within feet of each location. It was absolutely amazing. He dropped us off as close as a car can possibly get. I'm still amazed by the level of customer service he provided. Even when he dropped us off at the port, we were dropped immediately in front of the doorway. We got out, the guys took out luggage, I paid Daniele in cash, and we then walked 10 feet to the doorway to the registration center. His e-mail address is daniele.romagnoli@fastwebnet.it www.romeairportransfers.com Registration was fine. We were there about 3:30 and there were only a handful of people and of course, I always forget to sign something so the gatekeeper lady reviewed everything before she would let me go to the desk to get our key. I had to sign my Seapass form and then we were on our way to the ship. This was our first cruise that didn't originate somewhere in Florida and the embarkation process was very pleasant. You need to know one thing about us. We are not big complainers. Stop reading now if you want to know every flaw of every meal we had on the ship. We are both on the low end of our ideal BMI weight and we use food to stay alive. We don't expect every meal on a cruise to be the most fantastic culinary experience we've ever had. So if you want a critique of the green beans then hit the "back" button and read someone else's posting. It's cruise food. On the other hand, I do like to point out the highlights; we ate at Chops and it was great. It was well worth the money. We ate at Portofino's on Adventure of the Seas two years ago and I definitely recommend Chops if you don't want to spend the money on both restaurants. Portofino's was good, but if you have to choose then go with Chops. It's hard for me to spend extra money for pasta dishes. Sarah and I are both RCCL Gold members now. Every time I say that I think of Austin Powers! So we each received a Crown and Anchor savings booklet. We also received a "Passport to Savings" book that was an extra "benefit" for booking through an agent. I'm going to break from the mold and complain here. These rip-off books are clearly nothing more than marketing gimmicks. These are not rewards for being a loyal RCCL cruiser. These are designed to extract as much money from you as possible. I get it. Most consumers are idiots. I know that's a mean thing to say, but it's true. People get a "coupon book" and they automatically think it's a good thing. Here are some examples: • Passport to Savings booklet examples: o Big print: "10% Off Royal Caribbean Logo Item" ? Small print "Purchase 2 Royal Caribbean Logo Items and Receive 10% Off a 3rd Logo Item o Big print: "20 minutes of Free Internet" ? Small print "With the purchase of a 150 Minute time plan" ? The 150 minute time plan is $75 or $0.50 per minute o And there were lots more coupons designed to get people to gamble, all of them similar to the above. So for them to advertise this as a benefit to the consumer is not entirely accurate. • Crown and Anchor Society Gold Member Ultimate Value Booklet examples: o Spend $1,000 or more on fine jewelry and receive a 10% discount o Internet Discount - $5 credit or 10% off any Internet package o Johnny Rockets 2 for 1 milkshake - this was a BOGO offer o Buy one photo and receive a 50% discount on a second photo Some of these are not bad, but just once I'd like to have something free with no strings attached. As a loyal RCCL brand cruiser, even just a free drink would be nice. I understand that RCCL would have some response to my sentiments to the effect of: We value our repeat customers and cruising offers the best value in the travel industry and we do our best to maximize this value and whatever. But still, a good rewards program should give you something for free. Period. Just give me a photo for free. They print them off on photo paper, wasting who knows how much paper and ink, only to throw away the vast majority that they don't sell. And then they want to tell me to re-use my dirty washcloth so they can "Save the Waves." I can feel the Libertarian bubbling up inside me so I'll move on to our ports of call. Our first port of call was Messina on the island of Sicily. We just walked around the town and enjoyed the churches and what not. Day 3 was cruising and day 4 was in Athens. We hired another private driver in Athens and we were so glad we did. Again, I have a very resourceful wife. Fotis Kolliris made us feel like we were a part of his family. He's 59 and the safest international driver I've ever met! www.taxitours.gr fotis@taxitours.gr He was so friendly and customer service oriented. We saw the changing of the guards, ate at a great restaurant, visited the Acropolis Museum and the Acropolis, visited the Temple of Zeus and the modern Olympic stadium (the 1896 version,) and drove to the top of Lykavittos Hill for the best views in Athens. We did all of this in spite of a transportation strike that stranded others. Fotis owns the company and he was awesome. He charged us 230 Euros for all of this (payable at the end of the tour) and we drove in a new Mercedes. It wasn't an E-class, but it looked very similar—maybe the Greek version of an E-class. And again, we drove right up to all of these sites as close as a car can get. He also does multiple day tours for people who come to Greece for a vacation. I highly, highly recommend him. We really felt like part of his family as he is one of the friendliest and most hospitable people I've ever met. Day 5 was on the island of Rhodes, Greece. We just walked around the Old Town inside the city walls. You don't really need a shore excursion here unless you want to travel down the island to the beaches. Sarah and I are not beach people, even though we live in Florida, so keep that in mind, too. If you're a beach person then just know we tend to avoid those types of shore excursions. Day 6 was Ephesus, pronounced EFF-uh-sis with the first syllable stressed. I was pronouncing it Uh-FEE-sus as in the Book of Ephesians. Again, thanks to Sarah and Cruise Critic, I booked another private tour, this time with Ekol Travel. www.ekoltravel.com This was a half day tour to the ruins in Ephesus including the Terrace Houses. We paid $174 total for the both of us and I paid via credit card a couple of weeks before we left home. I was a little nervous about paying before the tour because everyone else didn't want you to pay until after the tour was over, but I went ahead and paid anyway based on the positive feedback we found on this website. I'm glad I did because we had a very nice time. Emre was the name of our tour guide and he was awesome. He was 26 years old and he went to college to be a history teacher so he really seemed to know his stuff when we were at the ruins. DO NOT under any circumstances miss the Terrace Houses. That would be a real shame. These houses are amazing to see the frescos and mosaics and to see how these ancient citizens really lived. Whenever I see ruins I think they are cool but boringly decorated, but then you see these houses and realize they were just like ours today. The techniques of decorating are a little different, yet very much the same. We paid Ekol just a few extra bucks per person for the Terrace Houses and I was amazed that we had the whole place to ourselves. The terrace houses are located inside the ruins of Ephesus but they require a separate entrance fee. There were a few thousand people at the ruins and only 8 of us inside the terrace houses. They are covered by a large plastic-looking building to protect the archaeologists still excavating the inside and I guess people didn't realize what was inside. It was a real shame that only a handful of us went inside. It took us about 30 minutes to go through the houses. Emre said there are two spots in the world that are the best preserved Roman cities—Ephesus and Pompeii. Pompeii is the biggest and most famous because of its fate, but Ephesus was a much wealthier city so the houses are nicer. Ask for Emre by name and you won't regret it! Day 7 (9/11) we were cruising to Egypt. At the time, I was typing this from a deck chair on the back of the ship, just under the mini golf course and I was surrounded by a bunch of Speedo-wearing octogenarians. The average age on this ship is certainly higher than anything I've sailed on before, but that's okay. We joked that this was a nursing home cruise, but I probably shouldn't have said that. I apologize to old people everywhere. I hope to grow old, too, because the alternative is dying young! Wow, this review is already five pages long and if you're still reading my drivel then you must really want to take this cruise. I highly recommend it. Today, I'm back on the same deck chairs in the same spot of the ship sailing to Naples, having just spent two days in Egypt. I'm slaving away on this review just so you can be an informed traveler and Sarah is sitting beside me playing Angry Birds on her iPod Touch and listening to the comedian Mitch Hedberg. We are quite the sight. Sarah has her Kindle on her lap open to Good Grief: A Novel and her iPod Touch in her hands and I am hammering away on my laptop with my iPod Classic on "Shuffle." At any moment I could be listening to Chopin or Lady Gaga, because that's how I roll. Stephen King's Under the Dome is beside me. Yes, a real book with real paper. But I digress. . . What can I tell you about Egypt? Here's a quick tidbit that I couldn't find the answer to before we left home. When you check in for the cruise, the cruise line keeps your passport. They put a sticker on the front of it with your cabin number. Then, sometime between Turkey and Egypt, an Egyptian official gives your passport a visa stamp and you pick up your passport in the dining room the day before you get to Egypt. There was no additional cost for this. We booked another private tour, this time through Ramses Tours. www.ramsestours.com We were picked up at the port in Alexandria by a very nice young Egyptian lady named Nora. That was her Westernized name. She walked us over to a mini-van with a separate driver named Ahmed, who was also very friendly. We drove three hours to Cairo with a rest stop in the middle. Nora kept us entertained the whole way with mini lectures on Egyptology. She is studying for her Masters degree and I found her to be quite credible and very intelligent. She helped us every step of the way including local customs such as tipping the person who hands you toilet paper at the door to every single bathroom! We went to the pyramids of Giza first and Nora was very informative. We went inside the great pyramid of Cheops, the one with limestone still at the top of it. We opted for the complimentary camel ride, which was way more fun than it sounds. And Nora was an excellent photographer, taking pictures of Sarah and me on the camel in front of the pyramids. It made a great Facebook picture! Then we visited the Sphinx, went to Memphis, and ended up at Sakkara where the stepped pyramid is located. Then we had a late lunch at the Carvery, a nicer Egyptian restaurant. We ended the day in Cairo at the Fairmont Nile City Hotel. The website does not do this hotel justice. It opened in December 2009 and it was incredible. It reminded me of the Westin Diplomat in Hollywood, Florida. Sign up for the free President's Club before you leave home and you'll get free wifi Internet! We didn't eat dinner because we were so full from our late lunch, but breakfast was included in the price of the tour. It was delicious. Nora and Ahmed picked us up at 7:30 AM and we drove to the Alabaster Mosque, which was spectacular. We've seen a lot of cathedrals in our travels so we were prepared for ABC (another beautiful church) but this was our very first mosque and we were very impressed. Then we headed to the Egyptian Museum and saw many great artifacts, including King Tut and his headdress that we all saw in our history books in school. That was a highlight for me. We then ate a buffet lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe and then drove back to Alexandria with a rest stop halfway there. Once in Alexandria we went inside the Library of Alexandria, the new one obviously. Then we were dropped off right at the front door to the port. We paid $300 per person for the tour plus we upgraded to the Fairmont for an extra $50 per person. We felt we got a good value even at a $700 total package price. If we would have booked a similar package through the cruise line it would have been $990 and the hotel would not have been anywhere near as nice and it would not have been a private tour. I believe we got a great deal booking it ourselves. All of this brings us to right now, Tuesday September 14, 2010. We're cruising two days to Naples and then we finish back at Rome. I booked a shore excursion in Naples through the cruise line because of two reasons. First, I couldn't find a private tour that was reasonable. And second, Cruise Critic's port information and Rick Steves both say that traffic is completely unpredictable coming back from Pompeii. If we're on a cruise line shore excursion then the ship will wait for us if we're late. I realize this review had a lot of superfluous information that was quite useless to you, but I hope you found it helpful nonetheless. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
June 20, 2010 Navigator Western Med Trip Warning: Very long review This was a trip I had planned for our 15yr Anniv. My wife and I left the kids at home with the MIL and flew out of Tampa Thursday June 17. We were gone almost 2 weeks and ... Read More
June 20, 2010 Navigator Western Med Trip Warning: Very long review This was a trip I had planned for our 15yr Anniv. My wife and I left the kids at home with the MIL and flew out of Tampa Thursday June 17. We were gone almost 2 weeks and stayed a few days pre and post cruise in Rome. The cruise was a 7 night Western Med cruise that stopped in Genoa, Villefranche, Barcelona, Palma, and Sardinia. We arrived in Rome (FCO) Friday morning after a LONG flight with a kid that couldn't stay quiet. We collected our luggage and boarded the Leonardo Express Train for Termini station for 28 Euro total. We walked to Hotel Canada Best Western and dropped off the luggage, since the room wasn't ready yet. Since the room wasn't ready, we knew we had a lot to see in Rome and started right away. There is a Metro station very near the Hotel Canada which made it VERY convenient. We saw the Coliseum, Arch of Constantine, The Forum, and the Memorial to Vittorio Emanuele. Everything is so much larger and beautiful than I imagined! The history of everything is just amazing! We went back to our hotel to get checked in a take an hour power nap. The Hotel Canada is beautiful! The room was large, clean and comfortable. They have a GREAT breakfast that is included with the room as well as free internet available in the lobby. As previously mentioned, it is close to the Metro, and was the better of the 2 hotels we stayed at as well as the least expensive. After our nap we went looking for dinner. People in Rome don't eat until about 9pm, but we managed to find a few restaurants down the street that were open at 6pm. We chose a nice sidewalk table and had a nice meal. Some things I learned the first day: 1) Termini Station in Rome is HUGE 2) Wine is cheaper than soda (we paid an avg. of 3 Euro for a Coke Light and 8 Euro for 1 liter of house wine) 3) You can get an unlimited ride Metro ticket called a B.I.G. for 4 Euro pp. 4) The Metro doors WILL close on you and do not have sensors like elevators (don't ask) 5) Only tip if the waiter gives outstanding service. Day 2 Saturday- We got up early and had a wonderful breakfast in our hotel. We them headed to the metro to meet our tour guide for the Vatican Tour. We used Real Rome Tours for 55 Euro pp and had only 7 total people in our tour! Maya was extremely knowledgeable and would highly recommend them. The Vatican was beautiful and is definitely a must see even if you are not religious or Catholic. The Sistine Chapel wasn't as big as I thought, and St Peter Basilica was HUGE! The artwork throughout the Vatican Museum was impressive and priceless. We mailed a few postcards from the Vatican Post office, and then strolled around the square. Next we went to St. Angels Castle and the Angels Bridge and shopped at an open air market nearby. We then headed off to Republica to see the fountains as well as Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. I know, we are gluttons for punishment, but the adrenaline kept us going! After doing some great shopping between Spanish Steps and Piazza de Popolo we headed to a great Pizzeria called Est,Est,Est. We had 2 pizzas and 1.5 liters of house white wine for 25 Euro! One of the best places we ate in Rome! Day 3 Sunday- We had another great breakfast at the hotel and headed out for the train at Termini Station Rome to take us to Civitaveccia the cruise port. We didn't buy the train tickets ahead of time because we weren't sure how early we would get to the station, and there are several trains per day to the port. We went to one of the many kiosks to buy the tickets and chose the British Flag for English, but it only gives you the 1st page in English! The remaining screens are still in Italian! Luckily there was a local that helped us through a few screens and we had our 1st class tickets on the IC (Inter City) Train. We went to the massive departure board and noticed the train and the time but no track number. About 10 minutes before that track was posted and everyone around us rushed to the track. Here's what we learned about 1st class tickets. There is a Car number and seat number on the ticket! We boarded the train on the last car and loaded the luggage in the overhead. A minute later someone heard us talking about 1st class and showed on our tickets where we were supposed to be in Car 1 at the front of the train!! We had to hurry and get our bags and RUN to the front before the train left! We made it by 2 minutes, but there is nobody around to help you on the track and there is no whistle when the train is leaving. It just leaves! Arriving at the port is pretty easy and a relatively easy walk from the train station to the port entrance. AT the port entrance all of the cruise lines have buses that pick you up and take you to the ship. There you check in your bags and check in with your set-sail pass. We were on the ship in no time! We went to lunch in the WJ and then headed for the gym for a quick workout. We went to the dining room to try to switch from late seating (9:15) to My-time Dining, but they were full! We didn't like eating so late, but it worked out well with a port intensive cruise. Next we went to the Sky Bar for our informal Cruise Critic meeting for Sail away! RCL postponed the muster drill until after we set sail because of the Italian World Cup game. RCL showed every match of World Cup in case you are interested. We met some truly outstanding people and made new friends from Cruise Critic as well as the Diamond Lounge and frequently met up on excursions and wine! I am going to take a break from the time-line to go over some quick details of the cruise itself before going back to the ports. Ship—We sailed on the Navigator in Jan and she still looks great. We had room 6368 balcony and was your typical balcony room. We used the gym several times and the Jacuzzi in the gym because it was always hot and far less crowded. Service—Our room attendant was good, but not great. He kept the room spotless and said hello. But, didn't remember our names, did towel animal 3 out of 7 nights, and was clueless about the Diamond Amenity. Dining room service was great as usual, and service in Chops was good as well. Food—The WJ food was typical buffet. We at 3 breakfasts and 1 lunch there. We ate at Chops for the 1st time and have now convinced the DW to eat there once on every cruise! We also for the 1st time did the Diamond breakfast 4 mornings. We loved it! Service was great and food was much better. Cruise Director—Worst ever! He was this little Italian man that would keep flipping back and forth from broken English to Italian. I understand the need for speaking Italian on a ship from Italy, but have someone who just speaks Italian and interprets what the CD says! He wasn't funny at all and seemed very new and confused. His assistant (don't remember is name, but was a tall black gentleman) was very energetic and funny. Because the CD was bad, it made for the worst Love and Marriage Game and Quest we have ever seen. Entertainment—As mentioned above we went to the Love and Marriage game and Quest but left half way through because they were so bad. We also went to the Ice show but it hadn't changed much at all in 6 months since the last time we saw it. We also went to the gym 3 times to workout. The gym is functional and has plenty of cardio equipment, but the weight machines are dated. Day 4 Monday Genoa—We did the ships excursion to Cinque Terre. It is on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and is unbelievable! The only down side is that it is over an hour from the ship and you don't have much time to spend in each little town. There are 5 towns on the cliff edge on the Med and are all connected by train. The towns are known for their wine and Pesto. I won't go into detail of each town, but the excursion is a must! Day 5 Tuesday Villefranche—We went to Eze on our own. We were first off the ship to tender and walked through town to the bus stop. We took the 100 bus East to Eze de sur Mer for 1 Euro. Keep your ticket because the transfer on the 83 bus to Eze village is included. We waited by the tourist info center next to the train station for the next bus. We decided to walk down to the beach and had a quick drink at a cafe on the beach. The view was great and the ocean was nice. We went back and caught the bus to Eze Village. Eze was great and I highly recommend paying the 5 Euro pp to go into Jardin Exotic for the most unbelievable views! We took the bus back to Villefranche and did some shopping and went to an internet cafe before returning to the ship. By the way the internet on the ship is still HORRIBLE. We constantly had connectivity problems and when we could connect it was SLOW. Day 6 Wednesday Barcelona—We did the Hop-on Hop-off tour bus on our own. It was money well spent as Barcelona is HUGE! We managed to do all of the Blue and Red lines, but ran out of time to try the green line by the beach. The highlights of the tour was Sagrada de Familia, Guell Park, and Las Ramblas. They expect to have the church completed by 2025 and it is impressive. We didn't go in, but many of our cruise mates did and said that it was worth it. We spent 2 hours in Guell park and enjoyed the best views of Barcelona! There is a series of crosses at the highest point of the park where you can see all of Barcelona and the cruise ship. If you like the artist Gaudi, this park is a must see. We had Tapas on Las Ramblas as well as a few Sangria's and enjoyed it all! Day 7 Thursday Palma de Mallorca—The taxi's literally sit next to the ship and they all want to take you on a "tour". We had to wait a while and search for a taxi that was willing to take us to the beach. For 20 Euro we went to Palma Nova Beach. It was nice with plenty of space along with cafes and shops around. It was a nice break from doing all of the running around that we had done for the last week. The weather was perfect as it had been all week. The water was about 70 degrees, but I snorkeled anyway. Day 8 Friday Cagliari Sardinia—We did an RCL excursion to Tuerreda Beach and cheese/wine tasting. Again, it was a fabulous excursion and great weather! The beach was absolutely gorgeous and reminded me of the Caribbean as far as water clarity. However it was far less busy! We got to spend about 2.5 hours there before leaving for the Vineyard. The vineyard was beautiful and would be perfect for a wedding reception. The cheese and bread was freshly made, and the wine was good too. We bought a bottle of white wine for 10 Euro and took lots of pictures. Day 9 Saturday At sea—We got to sleep in for once! We enjoyed another wonderful breakfast in the Diamond area and had a good workout in the gym. We managed to go to the Ice Show, and it was good as usual. However 2/3 of it was exactly the same as 6 months ago. We went to Chops for dinner and said goodbye to our tablemates in the dining room. Day 10 Sunday disembark and Rome—We walked off the ship with our luggage about 8am and took the shuttle back to the gate of the port. We got our tickets for the train back to Termini on a regional train. There are no 1st class tickets but on this train all of the second class seats were pretty nice. This trip only cost us 9 Euro total for the both of us back to Rome. It is a far cry from the $90-$150 others want to charge. After departing Termini, we made out for our new hotel, The Marcella Royal. This hotel is further away than the Hotel Canada, but is a little more upscale. It has a rooftop restaurant/bar and is also where breakfast is served. The rooms are a little bigger, but the bed wasn't as comfortable. The breakfast wasn't as good, no free internet, and it wasn't convenient to a Metro station. Don't get me wrong, it is a beautiful hotel with great views of the city. I am simply comparing it to the other hotel we stayed at. After checking in to our new hotel, we were off again to explore Rome again to see the things we missed the first time around. We went to the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. We ate at Cafe Borrocco on the piazza. The pizza and beer were good! We sat a while a people watched until sundown. We then took pictures of the piazza at night before walking back to Trevi fountain and other tourist spots for night pictures. Day 11 Monday—We went to the shops off of side street from the Via Conditi between Piazza de Popolo and the Spanish Steps. There are plenty of shops for whatever you are looking for. We bought a nice leather purse for the MIL and a nice leather jacket for the DW. We then went up to the northern part of Rome to a huge park that houses the Rome Zoo, museum, and a great pond that the DW and I rented a boat and rowed on for a nice romantic afternoon. I think it was called Borghese Park. If you have time, I recommend it! Day 12 Tuesday—We had arranged for a shuttle for 31 Euro to pick us up from our hotel and drop us at the FCO terminal. It was well worth it. I wish we had done it for the trip from FCO to our hotel at the beginning. It was called airportshuttle.it and I recommend them highly. It was a long trip home, but we were glad to get back and share our experience. Hope this helped. I have attached a link to some of the pictures from the trip. http://travel.webshots.com/album/578070277ugrLoi Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
I have read other reviews of this cruise, and of others from Malaga, and have to disagree with many points raised. So, we arrived the night before having made our own plans and stayed close to the port, which of course meant a very long ... Read More
I have read other reviews of this cruise, and of others from Malaga, and have to disagree with many points raised. So, we arrived the night before having made our own plans and stayed close to the port, which of course meant a very long and expensive taxi trip to the port. Malaga is undergoing extensive building work and the best place to stay at present is the Old Town area. We arrived at 11am - earlier than the time recommended by RCCL, so we can't complain about the cabins being locked or the Windjammer not being open. We did queue for about 10mins after dropping our luggage off outside the terminal and by reading the signs and asking for help, we found our way in. We faced a long line for security checks but were only held up by people who could not understand what to do (same as an airport really). We headed for the Diamond check-in and were quickly through, no lines there, or at the Platinum or Suite desks. On-board the ship we found a bar for our normal arrival drink and to await the opening of the Windjammer. Our first impression was that the ship is showing her age and is in need of a little tidy-up. We went to our cabin at about 2:30am and were very pleased with it. As usual it was clean, tidy and very welcoming - our attendant introduced himself to us and had our luggage with us by 4pm. We were unpacked and ready for the delayed muster at 5pm. The delay was so that guests coudl watch the Liverpool vs Manchester United football game - including extra snacks and hot food, in three areas.Thsi of course runied the sailaway for those who had no interest in football as we were all standing at our muster stations when the Captain crept out of Malaga. By the tiem we were "dismissed" we had long left land behind. We then headed to the Diamond VIP Event - what a total abuse of the phrase VIP Event. We were relegated to the upper area of the Cosmopolitan L:ounge (Vicking Crown) where we were forced to stay for our free drink. So much for the access we had to the Concierge Lounges in 2008 and the Diamond Lounge we had on Indy in August 09. Gone were the personal touches such as someone from the crew to welcome us and offre help and advice. However, the waiter was fantastic and he was by far the best advertisment for loyal guest that RCCL had on this trip. My discussion with thr Loyalty Ambassador became difficult when she told me that no-one on the ship had any control over how the Diamond benefits were implemented - so no food for us, but plenty for football fans! Our happy hour discount was only given if my wife bought her own drinks as did I. OK, as she requested, I wrote to her putting all of my observations to pen and paper and copied the Guest Relations Manager and Hotel Director. She ignored my letter until after I challenged her later for an acknowledgement, which I duly got the next day - still no action though. Also the GRM and Hotel Dircetor also acknoweldged my letter eventually, the first verbally the latter in writing - but still no action. I have never before found a team of senior managers so unresponsive to what they admitted, were polite and considered concerns and requests. I declined the chance to meet the Hotel Director to discuss my letter, as I thought my last afternoon on the ship was better spent enjoying what was left of my holiday. Clearly the Loyalty Ambassador was more concerned with selling future cruises - but of course we were all very valued members of the Crown and Anchor Society - as long as we don't cause trouble by asking questions. So, back to the good things. The entertainment was excellent, the Cruise Director and his staff did a good job considering they were catering for so many different nationalities. Interestingly there were only just under 400 Spanish on-board, so all the suggestions by others that it was the locals who caused problems with pushing in and causing problems is not supported by the numbers. In fact there were over 2500 British passengers. We found the food very good indeed, only one small issue which was dealt with quickly. In all the bars we used the staff were excellent as were the MTD dining room team and those in Portofino and Chops. Leaving the ship was very easy. We followed the instructions for our time and colour label and were on shore in 20mins from leaving our cabin. The only issue was with the taxi rank - not RCCL's problem - the guys there could not organise a knobbly knees contest. Incidentally I did write again to the Hotel Director expressing our thanks for the way his staff (with two exceptions the LA & GRM) had looked after us and naming three for special recognition. After all, we enjoyed our cruise, the people we met, the food the places and the entertainment, but so much for brand loyalty - Tesco are more consistent. Read Less
Navigator of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.3
Dining 4.5 3.9
Entertainment 5.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.1
Family 5.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 2.0 3.4
Service 4.5 4.3
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates 4.5 4.2

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